March 2, 2008
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Blake Cooper and Curtis Johnson shut down the Tiger bats to lead #3 South Carolina to a 5-1 victory over #13 Clemson Sunday in front of 6,258 fans at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. The Gamecocks improved to 5-1 overall, while the Tigers fell to 5-2.
The two rivals will face each two more times in April on consecutive Wednesdays. The Gamecocks lead the season series 2-0.
Cooper (1-1) pitched 6.0 solid innings to earn the victory. The sophomore righthander allowed one unearned run on seven hits while striking out three and walking none. Reliever Curtis Johnson pitched 3.0 scoreless innings with four strikeouts to earn his first save of the season. D.J. Mitchell (1-1) suffered the loss, as he allowed two runs (one earned) on 10 hits while striking out a career-high-tying six batters in 5.1 innings pitched.
The Gamecocks broke through with two runs in the sixth inning after both teams squandered scoring opportunities during the first half of the contest. Harley Lail led off with a single through the left side but was erased on a fielder’s choice by Kyle Enders. Justin Hopper reached on an error by third-baseman Kyle Parker, allowing Enders to reach second. Scott Wingo then singled to right-center, scoring Enders. Reese Havens followed with a single through the right side to score Hopper and put South Carolina up 2-0.
The Tigers responded with one run in the bottom of the sixth inning thanks to a Gamecock miscue. Ben Paulsen, who reached on a fielder’s choice, scored on a two-out throwing error by third-baseman James Darnell on a grounder hit by Parker.
South Carolina scratched one more run in the seventh ining, as Justin Smoak scored on a double to left by Enders to put the Gamecocks on top 3-1.
With one out in the top of the ninth inning, Smoak blasted his third homer of the year, a solo shot to right. Andrew Crisp reached on a hit-by-pitch and Lail followed with a double to score Crisp.
South Carolina tallied 14 hits, including three each by Smoak and Lail. Havens, Enders, and Wingo added two hits apiece. Clemson totaled nine hits, including three by Wilson Boyd and two by Alex Lee. Doug Hogan extended his hitting streak to 22 games with his single in the eighth inning as well.
The Tigers will play host to Wofford on Wednesday at 4:00 PM at Doug Kingsmore Stadium.
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